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Thread: [M]Would-Be Heroes Off to Help Save the World(IC)

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    Then the pair was in agreement. Elloria nodded, looked at the symbol again to etch it in her mind, then started down the left passage. She stayed in stride with Belvanaj, almost scared to take either the lead or the rear- something about the cavern made her uneasy. Her own nerves, likely; that, and the quiet, mostly broken by their own soft footfalls along the ground.

    The tunnel gently swayed back and forth, right and left, but ultimately in a roughly straight shot as far as Elloria could tell. And as they walked, she failed to notice any more of those mysterious symbols. Could they have been lead astray? Should they have retreated and looked for more of those symbols elsewhere? Belvanaj did have a very good point that the arrow led away from the cave; and if it was made by a person, it was unlikely to be pointing away from anything interesting. But again, if it was left by the artifact, then perhaps she was searching for the wrong sort of meaning...

    The tunnel widened, and eventually let out to a large cavern. As they reached it, Elloria hesitated, unsure of what it meant. Perhaps Belvanaj, with his knowledge of cave systems, would be able to tell her whether or not the cavern had any significance. It was large, with stalactites starting to form along the ceiling, and their lights cast shadows all along the ceilings and the walls. But, on the far end of the cavern, it looked like another tunnel led away from it, and around the mouth of it, was that...? "Is that another symbol, over there?" she asked, her quiet voice echoing in the hollow.

  2. #52
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    The echoes startled them. It was unlikely sounds anywhere else they had ever been. They realized then it was only from what was said from their own voices.

    Belvanaj said, "We need to go over there and look, to be able to tell." There was different coloration there, at just that one spot, along the passage continuing on from this larger cavern, right by the edge of the opening. They went on toward it, watching where they stepped, for the bottom of this cavern was rather uneven.

    They came soon to that spot. Here they saw two things that must have been symbols left on the wall of that passage. One was an arrow like the other one, with it pointing that same way, before it was what seemed to be a raised arm with a clawed hand.

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    The echoes of the cavern seemed to have spooked Belvanaj, so the pair crossed the room in relative silence. The silence and the anticipation, mixed with Elloria's extant anxiety, melded together in her stomach to create a concoction of adrenaline that was ready to bolt at any moment. She almost wished that the floor would start crumbling away, or something would scream from the darkness and start chasing them, so that she might have an excuse to run and burn off some of the excess energy that coursed through her veins.

    What she had spied had, in fact, been another symbol. It was two, in fact; another arrow, and a new symbol. Elloria stared at it. "A claw? Danger, perhaps, in that direction...? Surely we would have seen it if it remained. Or perhaps a warning of needing to climb...?" Her voice was quiet to reduce the echo, and she glanced back towards where they had come from. "Or..." She looked back to Belvanaj. "Do your notes have anything on what this might be?"

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    Belvanaj stared at the images on the wall at the end of this next passage just as much. He said then, "No, they are not in my notes any more than they are in your own notes. I am sure these were never mentioned. This arrow pointing out from this passage that same direction, and this clawed hand right behind, is a message left, for some others, though those of us of our generation were not anticipated. We should still try to figure this out. I am sure we never had instruction about any clawed hand, or any people with clawed hands. It is not like any are known. It makes me think of the old tales that have been told to children as warning of bogeys, especially like those lizardmen in those stories. But what this represents is a real mystery. Like people or beings with a clawed hand were directed which way was out. Or, others were shown with this the way out, away from the people or beings with a clawed hand."

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    So they were both still in the dark about the symbols, then; all they had were guesses in the dark, and Belvanaj was even resorting to children's tales. Elloria repressed a sigh, and stared again at the symbols. Those sorts of stories could, she reasoned, have some truth to them- but whether those truths were of a species with clawed hands or simply a lesson in obeying one's parents were another story. Though...

    "Perhaps the claw was just a symbol for danger, but not necessarily a sharp kind. We would be likely to encounter danger, I would think, going after the artifact. Or perhaps the claw just represents some sort of beast- perhaps there is another opening, and a wolf found its way in, searching for a den and finding a fearful people instead," she suggested. It wasn't much to go off of, of course, but the pair didn't exactly have much information to work with, either, and her nerves were begging her to keep moving. "Perhaps we shall find a third symbol, or something that might offer more explanation, if we press on."

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    Belvanaj said, "Right. It should not mean we should turn back, with our important search. These things representing something must have been left here ages ago. Everything but the caves and what is etched on them has changed. And perhaps they had nothing to do with a hidden artifact, even one we might find somewhere here with careful looking. Let us go on this way, then."

    He led the way forward through this passage beyond the wide cavern. It was a bit wider than the one they had gone through at first. And it still led slightly downward, as it curved a bit over a long way to the left, and further on it curved slightly to the right over a long way. And then finally they saw where it looked like it came to an end, but it was then seen there were other openings in different directions there. One was an opening straight up above them at that end of this passage. It looked entirely dark up that way even with the torches right under it. There were three other openings to other directions from there, they led more steeply downward. One to the left was rather narrower. One to the right was wider, also going down in its direction more steeply. The one ahead in-between those led downward from there, but not as steeply as the others. Something was giving some light much further along that passage, they saw to their surprise.

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    And so they continued on. Elloria was starting to suspect that, should they find a third place of symbols etched into the walls, they would likely rehash their same discussion of wondering what it could mean and agreeing to press on; though it was better to verify, she supposed, rather than for either to assume how the other felt. She was grateful to have a considerate partner, at any rate.

    The next passage was wider, and with time, Elloria's anxiety was dulling into a more general apprehension. She still felt ready to run- or perhaps fight- at any moment, if the need arose, but the intensity was subsiding to a degree. The tunnel curved about as they moved, and when they came to a junction in the caves, the elf no longer felt confident she knew where they would have been above ground, or what tunnel led where. She was surprised to see the light coming from the tunnel ahead of them- of all of them, she would have thought the one above them would have been more prone to that- and looked at Belvanaj with surprise.

    She finally carefully approached each of the three openings, studying their edges, then returned to the center to look up. "I don't see any more of those symbols here," she finally remarked, and looked back at Belvanaj. The effect of the torchlight had quite the effect on his face, she noticed; he looked quite handsome- Elloria blinked to focus her thoughts on the task at hand again. "The tunnel with the light looks the least steep to traverse. As it continues down, I don't expect it to lead out of the caves, so I suspect we'll find something interesting that way. Do you think it's worth investigating?" After all, the light could also be dangerous, or lead them astray.

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    Belvanaj turned to Elloria, and said, "Certainly, there could be risks in this place we are not familiar with. There is no certainty for us right now of where we will find one of the artifacts of power, if it is here. But we should investigate for any better chance to find such artifact, and we should be cautious and be prepared as well as we can be, not knowing why this one way, which seems best to look through first, would have this light in it."

    As they did not want to turn back from it, they went on through this passage that was certainly sloped towards where there was light ahead. It was soon clear that there was another opening to a wide area further ahead, with some source of light on either side from where the passage opened to it. As they came near, they saw there was a detectable movement of slight shadows on a further wall away from where the passage opened.

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    The pair moved towards the light, which led them to another cavern. As they approached, Elloria noticed a shadow flicker. With a frown, the elf held her arm out to quietly stop Belvanaj, but kept marching in place. When she had her companion's attention, she pointed down at her feet, as though to suggest to him to do the same, so that the sound of their walking would continue even as they did not. Her nerves tensed again, as she handed her torch quietly to Belvanaj, and reached for the knife she had strapped to her belt that morning while changing.

    With the torch relinquished and herself armed, Elloria carefully approached the edge of the cavern, pressing herself up against the wall of the tunnel. Her dark skin and hair, she hoped, would help to keep her hidden amongst the shadows long enough to catch sight of whatever lay in front of them. Alas, she could see nothing from the corner. The elf spun the knife in her hand, gripping it ready to slash and slice, and jumped into the cavern, weapon brandished, ready to attack whatever had made the shadow.

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    Belvanaj watched Elloria, amazed. It was not yet even known what moving thing, or things, there were just a little way beyond them, or what light was here in this deep cavern. He would not have dared such an approach himself, without checking more thoroughly.

    Once Elloria had leaped into that cavern with light unexpectedly and landed within, Belvanaj felt for the special knife in its hilt at his side. Within there was a raised platform, still probably a natural formation. To his surprise and surely to hers, two really large winged insects leaped up from where they had been, a little way out of the line of sight from the passage, away from a smaller insect like them, in what seemed to be a nest of a small cluster of about a half dozen eggs, one a widely broken up one. The winged insects, with very bright abdomen which gave off all the light in this cavern, flew then frantically around, and then moved closer to that passage and Elloria who stood in front of it.

    Elloria and Belvanaj both heard a strange sound from one of the insects. "Reee, Itidikar! Ata... you are doing what here?!"
    Last edited by GodlyD&D; 10-15-2022 at 02:44 AM.

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